Or I could alternatively call it, ‘the one where Courtney does everything wrong’ - and it still turns out.
I’ll elaborate in a moment.
But first off, I have to explain why I keep using Girl Scout Cookies in recipes. (Besides the fact that they can’t do anything but make a dessert better.) As a family (well, Hubs and I) are trying to cut back a tad on the sweets.
(I know, I know, making a cheesecake is the opposite of cutting back… but I have sound reasoning.)
Since there are now two bakers in the house - occasionally trying to outdo one another - we have gone down a dark path to having goodies constantly in the house. Which is not good for our health and waistlines, apparently.
Anyhow, we already have the cookies. We have no self-control and will eat the cookies – sooner or later. I also will continue to bake. Soooo, my reasoning is, if I use the cookies in what I bake, we will eat less sweets since I’ll have used them up in my recipes. So we’re only eating one bad thing (what I make) instead of two (what I make plus the cookies on the side). Make sense? Or am I just rationalizing my need to bake crazy delicious desserts??
I’m going to go with the greater good reason. It makes me feel better.
Back to the recipe. I kind of messed up pretty much everything in this and therefore, had to hodge-podge a bunch of recipes together. So some parts have links to the original and others do not.
Samoas Cheesecake, hodge-podged completely wrong by me
2 c Samoas cookies (or 1 1/2 c and 1/2 c graham crackers)
1/2 c butter, melted
24 oz (4 packages) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
2 T vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Crush Samoas (and/or graham crackers) in food processor until smallish and grainy. Add melted butter and press into bottom of lightly greased spring-form pan.
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour batter into crust.
Bake cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes then partially open oven door and turn oven off. Let the cheesecake cool for 30 minutes more in the oven. Run a knife around edges and let cheesecake cool on a wire rack for 8 hours in refrigerator.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Sauce, adapted from Epicurious.com
1/2 c sugar
1 c heavy cream
4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 t salt
1 T unsalted butter
Cook sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and carefully pour in cream (mixture will steam and bubble vigorously). Once bubbles begin to subside, return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel is dissolved.
Remove from heat, then add chocolate and salt and stir until chocolate is melted. Add butter and stir until just melted.
Cool sauce slightly, then drizzle over cheesecake.
sweetened coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a layer of coconut on cookie sheet. Put in oven for about 5 minutes or until barely golden brown.
Sprinkle on top of cheesecake.
Let’s start with the cheesecake itself… well, I learned that one box of Samoas does not make enough crust for a cheesecake – and when you don’t have any more, graham crackers (the last two you have) will do in a pinch.
Then, as I was making the cake itself, I realized I had grabbed fat-free cream cheese. (That’s what happens when you shop with two boisterous boys.)
I forgot to soften it before mixing.
I got lumps.
I completely forgot about another addition from the first recipe I was using. Then I tried fixing it with ideas from another recipe. And then ideas from a third.
And then I just gave up and put it in the oven.
It was about 20 minutes in when my oven began to smoke. Apparently, butter from the crust can drip through the pan and land on the bottom of the oven – and that causes smoke. Note to all: place a cookie sheet under your cheesecake, please.
After finally taking it out, it still cracked along the edges. I placed it in the fridge to take a little break overnight. It looked a little overdone, but I was still trying to be hopeful. And I was glad to let it go for the evening.
Additionally, I sprayed the stove with cleaner so it could work overnight, thinking all would go well in the morning – when I went to toast the coconut.
But the coconut did not go well, either.
The next morning, I actually remembered to wipe out the cleaner. I placed my cookie sheet of coconut in the oven, and about two minutes later it began to smell. It was a combination smell of cleaner, burnt food, and coconut. Not what I was going for. As I finally removed the coconut, it smelled bad, too. So I dumped it.
I cooled the oven, re-sprayed and wiped the inside. I also wiped it several times with wet cloths to make sure there was no cleaner residue. When I went to preheat again, it continued to smell. So I decided to set the temperature for 500 degrees to burn up whatever was left.
While this was going on, Hubs called. I explained what was happening, and he informed me that the bottom of the oven was a ‘false bottom’ and that probably some of the butter dripped under it onto the element. I was so excited to have a new place to clean in the oven. (Insert sarcasm here – I mean seriously, the coconut was supposed to be the easy part!)
Anyhow, after the oven cooled, I removed the bottom piece (which forced me to remove all shelves and side doo-hickeys) and cleaned below. And after about five tries, I got the bottom piece returned. I preheated and finally, all was well.
I placed in my second batch of coconut, proceeded to get distracted, and burnt it to a crisp. Ooops.
The third batch, and the last of my coconut, finally worked. Here it is in all it’s glory.
After all that work, you're getting a picture.
Finally, I was able to move on to the caramel sauce – which was actually the part I was the most scared about. Fortunately things finally went my way, and I didn’t mess anything up. Hallelujah!
I did learn, though, that you really need to keep a close eye on it – and it took the sauce quite a bit longer to come together than the recipe says. Also, warm up your cream a bit before adding it to the caramel, and then it shouldn’t seize up as much as mine did. (I literally had a caramel pancake that took forever to melt back into the cream.)
(Side note, I want to thank you, if you’ve made it this far through my lengthy post! I promise, we’re coming to the good stuff soon.)
Now that I had all the pieces, I just needed to put it together – and hope against hope that all this work was worth it. Take a look or two and tell me what you think…
Do you need another view?
I thought so.
This was simply decadence on a plate.
The cheesecake was really good – though I admit it would be even better with regular cream cheese. It was pretty light in flavor and texture. The crust was a tiny bit disappointing, as you really couldn’t taste the Samoa-goodness of it. I might try a thicker crust if I made this again. But overall, I was quite impressed with myself.
And now, onto the sauce, oh the sauce.
It was to die for. Amazing. Mouth-wateringly tasty.
Salty, chocolately, caramel-y perfection. It’s sweet and salty mix was so perfect with the tangy-ness of the cheesecake. (Seriously, I think I could bathe in this stuff.)
And the topper with the toasted coconut – it added just a touch of sweet crunch that moved this dessert over-the-top.
Now, I know this was a lot of work and hassle and stress. But I pretty much forgot all of it while sitting at the table enjoying my slice.
After reading this, you know then that it’s gotta be really, really good.
And it certainly was.